Author's Notes: This was originally submitted for the Ginny Weasley Ficlet Challenge #1 and was modified to fit the new canon.
Red is a beautiful color, isn't it? Lately, I've had such a penchant for that color that everything in red seems so breathtaking—the vivid sky at sunset, the blazing fire in the common room fireplace, the luscious-looking apples that decorate the four long tables at the Great Hall....
And, most especially, that one redhead that attracts my eyes.
That red-haired girl wearing scarlet and gold Quidditch robes, zooming past below me with the red Quaffle.
And here I am, circling above the Quidditch pitch, watching her fly instead of looking for the Snitch. She looks so stunning with her robes billowing and strands of her bright red hair flying about in the breeze. The look of total concentration on her face is simply charming. Plus, the Quaffle completes the ensemble.
My redheaded goddess.
Bloody hell, Potter! When did you become such an overly romanticized, blubbering idiot?
I shake my head before it starts thinking of anything that could lead me straight into one hell of an embarrassment. My eyes once again trail downwards to where the Quidditch action is taking place, watching how my whole team (yeah, right, Potter!) will make us win the Quidditch Cup.
Ginny flies near the goal posts manned by Ron and throws the Quaffle to Katie Bell, who feints a shot to Ron's left. Ron, realizing that Katie is feinting, shifts to his right, but Katie tosses the Quaffle back to Ginny, who then flawlessly sends it flying into one of the unguarded hoops.
I smile as Ginny high-fives Katie. Weasley is really our king—or queen. Ginny looks up at me and smiles as she flies to the other side of the pitch.
Damn, I love that smile.
I feel that hundreds of thousands of Golden Snitches are fluttering inside my stomach and…
A blinding pain flows through my left arm. I notice a black blur zooming away as I grab my arm in an attempt to lessen the pain. I turn around and see Coote smiling apologetically.
"Sorry, Harry. I thought you saw the Bludger coming," Coote calls out before he flies toward the other end of the pitch.
If that Bludger had hit a Ravenclaw, I would commend Coote. But bloody hell! What'd he do that for? That's a very mean Bludger, that one. My arm is still throbbing like mad!
But, yeah, Coote is right. I should have seen that Bludger. Only someone as thick as Crabbe and Goyle wouldn't have been able to dodge it. Thankfully, nobody has noticed my Bludger blunder. If Fred and George were here, they'd probably start calling me Harry Potter, The Boy Who Got Hit By A Bludger Because He Was Too Bloody Stupid To Pay Attention and torment me for as long as I live. Not a pretty thought, if you ask me. Okay, where was I?
Oh, yeah, Ginny Weas—er, Quidditch.
I continue watching how everyone seamlessly plays as a real team, and I feel prouder every minute. I've never seen them play like this. With Katie being back and that McLaggen idiot off my team, everyone seems to be in top form—even Ron, I might add, despite the fact that he failed to recognize Katie's trickery a while ago. I can now understand Wood's obsession with winning the Quidditch Cup. The Gryffindor team does have what it takes. Just look at my Chasers: Ginny, Katie, and Demelza Robins fly as though they share the same brain. They can trounce Ravenclaw any day. And the Beaters? They may not have the brilliance of Fred and George, but they are certainly getting better. Bloody hell, I just have to recall that nasty Bludger that got me a moment ago to recognize their worth. And, of course, Ron is an exceptional Keeper if he can only stop freaking—
A loud roar of laughter interrupts my happy thoughts about my team. I turn in that direction and see Ginny bobbing up and down on her broom in a perfect imitation of Ron whenever he sees a Chaser approaching with the Quaffle. I laugh along as Ron turns a bright shade of red.
"Don't wet your trousers the next time you see the Quaffle, all right?" Ginny teases with a laugh.
Ron shoots his sister a murderous look, but she takes no heed and sticks her tongue out at him.
Everyone chuckles again, with Ginny and me laughing the loudest. She winks at me as she passes by where I am.
Sometimes I find it hard to believe that Ginny has just broken up with Dean because she doesn't look like she's suffering from a failed relationship. In fact, she looks happy. Or maybe I just think that she's happy because I am happy—no, delighted, ecstatic—that she ditched Dean. Whatever the reason, I'm glad that she's in her best form. I had actually been preparing myself for another pep talk like the one I gave Ron just so I could put her back on her game. After all, aren't people supposed to be sulky after a break-up? At least Dean and Lavender are.
But Ginny? I don't think so. Just look at her. She livens up the team's practices. She definitely takes after the twins; you cannot help but laugh whenever she's around. It's a good thing, too, come to think of it, because it gives me an excuse to look at her without appearing like a dolt.
I know I have been gawking at her every time we are in a room together, and I have a feeling that Hermione has noticed because I always catch her with that knowing smile on her lips and she never says anything whenever I ask her why she's smiling. Sometimes I wonder if I have drool on my face because she looks at me funny. But then I really can't help it. Ginny has that—
A throbbing pain courses through the back of my head as another Bludger whizzes away from me. I blink hard until I'm seeing stars. What in the name of Merlin—?
"Sorry, Harry," Peakes calls out from behind. "I was aiming for Demelza but you were in the way."
Oh sodding hell, there's another massive lump on my head! Does Peakes like making the back of my head his bleeding Bludger target? This is the second time he has hit me. It took weeks for the lump he gave me during Quidditch tryouts to heal, and now this.
"It's okay," I reply as I massage my head. Peakes is about to say something else—possibly to apologize again or explain further—but I wave my hand and tell him to continue with practice.
I grip my Firebolt and fly a little higher, hoping to avoid further Bludger injuries. I look around; the Snitch is nowhere in sight. I sigh and give in to the strong temptation of going back to my current favorite pastime—watching Ginny.
Practice is just a large blur of red from where I am, but her blur has always been very distinctive. I can easily make her out even if I'm miles above her. I don't know why; I can't understand it myself, why I can always see her at the corner of my eye. Like right now, she and one of the other Chasers have just whizzed past me. Ginny races to Ron's side of the pitch, turns hard to the left to avoid the Bludger sent her way by one of the Beaters, takes a quick dive, pulls up again, and flies nearer to the goal posts. She aims to shoot the Quaffle but passes it to the other Chaser at the last minute. They score another goal and Ginny high-fives the other Chaser as she loops around the pitch.
Is this my curse? Her presence haunts me.
"Huh? What?" I turn around just in time to see a Bludger coming. I swerve sharply to the left but it's already too late. The Bludger hits my side hard as I turn. The impact is so strong that I fly in circles for a few seconds. Letting out a cry of pain, I grasp my Firebolt firmly to steady myself.
Pain, unbearable pain, rushes through my body, dizzying and disorienting me. I cannot hear distinct sounds; the sunlight somehow blinds me. Oh bloody hell, am I already dead?
"Harry, you okay?" I hear Ginny ask me, her voice rising above the swooshing and swishing sounds around the pitch. I blink hard before I turn around, and I see her looking at me with great concern.
Despite the pain I'm feeling, I smile and give her a thumbs-up.
I nod and reply jokingly, "Yeah. I've had worse."
She smiles again (Did I just hear something—someone—purr?) and turns her broom around to start another play with Katie and Demelza. Somehow the pain becomes tolerable. And I continue watching her when I'm supposed to be looking for the Snitch.
Hold on a second, what's a Snitch again?
Right. That gold thing with wings. That tiny ball that I should be looking for instead of staring at Ginny like a love-struck idiot.
With one last look at Ginny, I resume my search for the Snitch. Luckily enough, I immediately spot it lurking above the goal posts. I race to it, and in a matter of seconds, I can feel its wings helplessly struggling against my fingers. I call the practice over.
As I dismount from my broom a few minutes later, I can hear Ginny's laugh echoing across the pitch. She has her head thrown back, her ponytail swinging in the wind, her eyes shining with mirth. She turns around and beckons me to join her. She takes my arm as soon as I approach her and hilariously recounts Ron's antics during practice. I look down at her just as she glances up at me. Our eyes meet, and for a second my stomach flips over as if I have just done the Sloth Grip Roll. She flashes me one of those big smiles I love. (Really now, is there a cat nearby? I distinctly hear something purring.)
She releases her grip on my arm and continues teasing her brother as we make our way to the locker rooms. She doesn't know how something as simple as walking to the locker rooms with her brings me such bliss, how her smile makes my day. I really need to find a way to make her head—that fiery head of hers—turn my way once again before all the other gits realize how wonderful she is.
"Oi, Harry," Ginny says, smirking, "why are you staring at the door like you've been hit over the head by Cupid?"
I laugh with her as she rounds on me and teases me. Oh, Merlin, if she only knew.
More author's notes and some useless information: This is actually the very first draft of "There Might Still be Hope" (which was written a few months after OotP was released). I was only keeping a copy of the fic for sentimental reasons until I found a way to recycle it—and recycle it yet again because I've realized how this fic perfectly fits with the new canon, as if JKR and I have been reading each other's minds. ;)
Biggest thanks to JennaMae and Daily Prophet Reporting for the beta.